What is the Worldwide Unity?
Why does knowing about the Worldwide Unity matter?
As Moravians, we are part of what is called a Worldwide Unity that consists of more than a million people in more than 40 countries around the world. When you take a team to another part of the world, it is important to understand the context (geographical, structural and cultural) and also understand the approach that we like to take when we minister together with brothers and sisters in other parts of our “Unity.” Is the place you are visiting part of a Unity Province, a Mission Province or a Mission Area? Is it a Partner Province of the Board of World Mission? You will need to be aware of the BWM’s “Favored Practices” and have a basic understanding of what we believe is a “Moravian” approach to mission.
An In-Depth Look at the Unity
The Worldwide Unity is how Moravians, or the Unitas Fratrum, organize the Worldwide Moravian church. The whole Moravian church is broken into provinces. Provinces of the Unitas Fratrum are found in many areas of the world and are among many races and of many tongues. The provinces of this worldwide Unity thus offer a wide variety of economic, social and political development. Yet all are one, without distinction, in their membership in the Unity. Church Order of the Unitas Fratrum (COUF) #7.
The Unity Synod, comprised of representatives from each of the provinces, meets every seven years to execute the work of the Unitas Fratrum. In between the times of Unity Synod, the Unity Board meets every two years. The Unity Board consists of one member from the Provincial Board of each of the Provinces governed by a Synod. An Executive Committee executes the tasks as assigned by the Unity Board. It consists of the President and Vice-President of the Unity Board and one representative of each of the four regions of the Unity. The current President is Paul Gardner, chair of the Jamaica Province, and the Unity Business Administrator is Jørgen Bøytler, from the European Continental Province.
Our Church Order tells us that “the Unitas Fratrum consists of provinces.” The Unity Synod in 2009 placed these provinces into two categories – Unity Provinces and Mission Provinces – based on the stage of their development toward self-governance and sustainability.
The Breakdown of the Unity:
At present (2017) there are 23 Unity Provinces:
- America North (Northern Province)
- America South (Southern Province)
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Eastern West Indies (St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John, Antigua, Barbados, St. Kitts, Tobago, Trinidad, Tortola mission, Grenada mission)
- European Continental (Germany, Denmark, Holland, Switzerland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Albania mission)
- Great Britain and Ireland
- Jamaica and the Cayman Islands
- South Africa
- Tanzania (Eastern)
- Tanzania (Lake Tanganyika)
- Tanzania (Northern)
- Tanzania (Rukwa)
- Tanzania (Southern)
- Tanzania (Southwestern)
- Tanzania (Western)
There are 5 Mission Provinces (not yet meeting all of the requirements of a full Unity Province). All of these are accountable to a designated Unity Province.
The Mission Provinces are:
- Czech Seniorat
- Honduras “Traditional”
New areas of mission outreach within a Province as well as new mission endeavors in places where the Moravian Church has not already been ministering are defined and approved by the Unity Board as Mission Areas. As of the summer of 2012, there are 15 Mission Areas (supervising provinces in parentheses):
- Eastern Congo (Sud Kivu and Katanga)
- French Guiana
- Garifuna (Honduras)
- Iriniga (Tanzania)
- Peru (America Northern/ BWM)
- Ruvuma and Njombe (Tanzania)
- Sierra Leone
- South Asia
- Zanzibar (Tanzania Eastern)
Perspective Mission Areas
There are 2 projects that are assigned to the Unity as a whole:
- Star Mountain Rehabilitation Center, Ramallah, Palestine
- Unity Archives, Herrnhut, Germany
Worldwide Unity Mission Development Board
The Unity Mission and Development Board is a newly formed board as an outgrowth of the New World Witness program. It is composed of 12 members representing the 4 regions of the Unity—4 from Africa, 2 from the Caribbean, and 1 each from the European and North American Mission Agencies. The board meets at least once every two years. Its charge is to monitor new mission work, evaluate the progression of established mission work, decide on funding for mission work, administer the use of the Unity Mission and Development Fund, and coordinate partnerships between mission areas/ provinces and mission agencies.